'Instinct' Season 2: Alan Cumming, Bojana Novakovic on what's to come

On its face, Instinct looks like yet another police procedural drama.

But once you dig deeper, you realize it’s far more than that. Starring Alan Cumming as author and former CIA paramilitary officer Dylan Reinhart and Bojana Novakovic as his boss/partner, Lizzie Needham, the pair is unique and charming, and anything but your typical cop coupling.

In Season 1, Needham successfully convinced Reinhart to return to the fold and become an NYPD consultant, using his insights — or “instinct” — to help solve unusual cases. On top of the plot, Instinct deviates from the norm in that Cumming is the first-ever openly gay lead character on an American network drama series, and we don’t need to spend time hoping for the lead couple to get together romantically. Last and probably most important, Lizzie is the (female) boss, something we definitely do not see on network TV very often.

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Global News sat down with Cumming and Novakovic in New York City during a press tour in late 2018, and the pair discussed their non-romantic chemistry, Instinct‘s distinctiveness on the TV landscape and what’s coming up next season.

Global News: Clearly, there’s a fun chemistry between the two leads — you can see it right from the first episode of Instinct.
Bojana Novakovic: Alan is such a delight, we have so much fun on set. I think even our worst moments are better than some of my best moments with other people! We problem-solve in similar ways, and so it’s rare that he and I will have a conflict about something. Neither of us wants to fight with the other. We have fun, too — just last night, I pushed him before a take and then he got something wrong. I didn’t even say sorry.

Alan Cumming: The banter, the brotherly-sisterly thing, who’s winning, that sort of thing… it’s refreshing and it’s funny without all of the romantic subtext that you see on other cop shows.

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Lizzie and Dylan aren’t your typical co-leads by any stretch, especially on network TV.
AC: Dylan is quite challenging to play — he’s a very disparate man with many different facets to him. He’s a fuddy-duddy professor, he’s a former spy, he’s a writer, now he’s a cop. I don’t think he and I would even be friends in real life; we’re nuts.

BN: There really isn’t anyone like them: a man with a husband and a woman with a dog solving crimes together. You have this man who’s neurotic as f–k and then you have Lizzie, who wears her neuroses on the inside. They’re sort of the same, but very different.

It’s fascinating but also somewhat shocking that we don’t usually see a woman in charge or a gay man co-leading a network primetime TV show. What are your thoughts on that?
BN: We have a show with the first gay lead on a network drama. We could have completely discounted the female stuff… like we could have gone with that and called it a day. We’re doing so much for gay marriage and for that community by putting this couple into people’s homes who wouldn’t otherwise see a couple like this. Then, on top of that, there’s the female lead in a position of power in a workplace that’s surrounded by men. I think that’s a pretty big deal.

But the show isn’t trying to do anything or make a point because there’s no point to be made, for f–k’s sake. It’s fluid and it’s normal.

AC: I think it’s a great thing, but it’s a terrible thing because it’s 2018. In this time in America, with Trump preaching fear and hatred of “the other” — women, people of colour, gay people, trans people, immigrants — the fact that in this atmosphere, this mainstream cop show is on a big network at this time, that’s really important.

After all the work I’ve done in terms of being an activist for LGBTQ rights and things over the years… the fact I’m going into millions of people’s homes who’ve never seen a gay person portrayed in this way, and perhaps never seen a same-sex relationship perhaps at all, is so important.

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What’s coming up in Season 2?
AC: kiss this season. I’m undercover when it happens. You’ll see.

BN: In Season 2, is just something she brings with her; it’s part of her personality and not something we explore too much. You can’t get over that, what happened to her. It’s not something that you forget. No one’s ever ready to move on, she’s just… moving on.

Her private life and professional life converge in Season 2, and it’s really fun and you see her get vulnerable. Also, and this is fun — a third detective from outside comes in and gets in between us. He’s a male. You’ll have to wait and see what happens with that!

AC: Yep, this hunky cop comes in, and they’re both like, “Oh!” and they both get jealous of each other’s time with him. The funny thing is, through him, they realize what a great pair they are together.

‘Instinct’ Season 2 premieres on Sunday, June 30 at 9 p.m. on Global.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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